Wine & Brine Lounge 4/29: Meet Shooting Point Oyster Company - The Williamsburg Winery

Wine & Brine Lounge 4/29: Meet Shooting Point Oyster Company

This weekend at the Wine & Brine Lounge, April 29 and 30, oyster and wine enthusiasts can continue to explore local terroir and merroir diversity with two different oyster varieties from Shooting Point Oyster Company.

Based in Franktown, VA, on the western side of Virginia’s Eastern Shore overlooking the Nassawadox Creek, Shooting Point Oyster Company was founded by Tom Gallivan and his wife Ann Arseniu (who is CEO of the shellfish company JC Walker Brothers) over 15 years ago.

The Gallivans cultivate four different heirloom oyster varieties: Shooting Point Salts cultivated in the waters around Hog Island; Bullseyes cultivated in the Nassawadox Creek; Church Creek Corks cultivated in Church Creek; and, Arrowhead Petites from the seaside of the Eastern Shore. The Gallivans also produce a petit oyster exclusively available at an oyster bar in Baltimore. 

The dock adjacent to the historic Bayford Oyster House, situated on the edge of the Nassawadox Creek, serves as waterside workspace for Gallivan and his team. Built in 1904, the Bayford Oyster House is among the last standing original oysters house on the Chesapeake Bay.

Gallivan will be at the lounge this weekend and our team will be shucking Bullseye Oysters and Shooting Point Salts.

Bullseye Oysters are cultivated in the Nassawadox Creek, located in the lower Chesapeake Bay where the salty waters of the Atlantic mix with the creek’s marshy, less salty waters. Oysters have been commercially cultivated in the waters of the Nassawadox for over 150 years.

Nassawadox Creek is part of Region 3 (Lower Bay Eastern Shore) of the Virginia Oyster Trail; here, salinity levels range from 20 to 25 parts per thousand, producing moderately salty oysters with sweet, cucumber flavors.

To provide a salty contrast to the Bullseye oysters cultivated in the Nassawadox, Gallivan will also be shucking Shooting Point Salts grown in the salty waters of Hog Island overlooking the Little Machipongo Inlet. Part of Region 1 of the Virginia Oyster Trail, where water salinity ranges from 31 to 33 parts per thousand, this area offers some of the saltiest (and most delicious) oysters available.

Though the Shooting Point Salts and Bullseyes are the same oyster species — the wild Eastern Oyster, Crassostrea virginica — they each have a unique flavor profile because of the difference in water salinity, surrounding marshes, and tidal flows of each area. 

Joining Gallivan at the Lounge this weekend will be Todd Janeski, Director of the Virginia Oyster Shell Recycling Program at Virginia Commonwealth University. The shell recycling program operates across Virginia and collects more than 90,000 pounds of used oyster shells annually 

from restaurants, public drop off points, and from events. These used oyster shells are returned to the Bay as part of restoration efforts. 

Visitors to the Wine & Brine Lounge will have the opportunity to taste how ‘place’ affects the flavor of oysters and wine and learn more about the important role oysters play in the restoration of the Chesapeake Bay.

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